by Irvin Muchnick
Yesterday we reported that Sergeant Jo Ann Rzeppa investigated George Gibney for the Arvada, Colorado, police in 1995, while her own son was swimming at North Jeffco. From the 2015 summary provided to us by the police — they so far refuse to release the actual report — Rzeppa was looking into a tip pertaining to Gibney’s Irish criminal past and a fresh allegation of his misconduct at North Jeffco. A spokesperson for interim chief Edward Brady says Arvada PD will get back to us “as soon as we are able.”
Yesterday was also the day the Apex Park and Recreation District’s executive director Lauri Dannemiller, via spokesperson Katie Groke Ellis, said they’d be getting back to us regarding the circumstances of the departure of North Jeffco’s head coach in the mid-1990s, Ken Kelley, shortly after Gibney got exposed in the community as a fugitive child molester, and about anything else that could be found on how Gibney came to be hired at North Jeffco in 1994. (Kelley died in 2016.) But they didn’t get back to us. Maybe today’s the day.
Last week I learned that North Jeffco’s current co-head coaches, Carmen Babcock and Brett Stoyell, were telling friends that they were contemplating suing me for defamation. On what grounds, it’s not clear. Perhaps for opining that Babcock and Stoyell, like just about everyone else in this omerta-sealed community two decades after the stain of Gibney’s presence there, are doing nothing to help uncover the basic facts of all this, whether or not they were first-hand witnesses.
Concussion Inc.’s newest exhibit is my email interview with Andy Behner, the head coach at North Jeffco for part of the time in between Kelley and Babcock & Stoyell.
Q & A
ME: [I’d like to talk with you about George Gibney, etc.]
ANDY BEHNER: I began coaching North Jeffco in May of 1997. I never met George Gibney nor do I know anything about him.
ME: Whom did you succeed? Ken Kelley? Kelley was head coach until May ’97?
ANDY BEHNER: Yes but there was an interim coach between me and Kelley.
ME: Who was the interim coach?
ANDY BEHNER: Mike Picotte.
ME: So you never met Gibney and you know nothing about him: fair enough. But did you not hear anything at all about the scandal that had sent Gibney away, what sounds like about 20 months before you started there?…
ME: The big missing piece is how Gibney got hired in 1994. Do you know anything about that?
ME: Can you point me to old-timers or other sources in that community who might have been on the ground then and know more?
The analogy is imperfect, but Behner’s stance is roughly equivalent to Jimmy Carter, who became president in January 1977, saying he “knows nothing about” Richard Nixon, who resigned in disgrace and in the face of impeachment in August 1974.
Have a tip about George Gibney in Colorado or how the American Swimming Coaches Association — in the words of federal judge Charles R. Breyer — might have “greased the wheels for Gibney’s relocation”? Send it in confidence to [email protected].